A photograph of Clemens's only son, Langdon, inscribed by Clemens (pretending to be Langdon) to his mentor Bret Harte. Langdon was born 7 November 1870 and was not expected to live. He was so sickly a child that that he never was able to walk in his nineteen months of life. His death in June 1872 was attributed to diphtheria but Clemens blamed himself for allowing the child's blanket to slip off in cold weather.
When Clemens first arrived in San Francisco in the mid-1860s, Bret Harte befriended him and helped him write and publish his work. Clemens later credited Harte for honing his skills and transforming him into a real writer: "Harte trimmed and trained and schooled me patiently until he changed me from an awkward utterer of coarse grotesqueness to a writer of ... chapters that have found favor in the eyes of even some of the very decentest people in the land." In 1868 Harte helped Clemens edit Innocents Abroad, which he publicized by printing four excerpts in the Overland Monthly and he later gave the the published book a favorable review. Clemens also mentions Harte in Is Shakespeare Dead? (1909) and Roughing It (1872). He also included four pieces by Harte in Mark Twain's Library of Humor (1888). While Clemens continued to acknowledge Harte's talent as a writer, their friendship had soured by 1876.
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