By the time Clemens returned from Europe and paid off his debts, he had become Americas foremost celebrity. He was invited to attend ship launchings, anniversary gatherings, political conventions, and countless dinners. Reporters met him at every port of call, anxious to print a new quip from the famous humorist. To enhance his image, he took to wearing white suits and loved to stroll down the street and see people staring at him.
But in these years, he also experienced the great tragedy of his life, the death of his beloved wife Livy. To escape from the loneliness this caused him, Clemens attended many public functions and gave numerous speeches, which are among his least known yet most humorous productions.