Max was a rare person! Not one of those that started being good just because they left this dimension, but a real man who was a true friend to his friends and sucked the narrow out of life.
We participated together in several Bonham's Auctions in London as well as “Pen shows” in the United States of America, where we could obtain good exemplars to our fountain pen collections; it was frequent that during the auctions we had to come to an agreement between us or with other friends that went with us, in order to avoid competition for the same pen; or, in other cases, there were no prior agreements, and from the moment when one of us lifted the paddle (or in this case the card) and told the other: stay still “this one” is mine! It always worked out immediatly, no questions asked.
I can still recall one auction where a Waterman 416 fountain pen, with coral ebonite with silver overlay, a rare pen that Max was eager to have; the room was full, there were many people interested but Max was decided not to let it go. I remember he lifted the card in a determined way and didn't put it down until everyone else did before – the pen was finally his for the amount of three thousand and eight hundred pounds; that night there was a celebration, Max was absolutely thrilled!
This story about the pen is related to another story that touched me even deeper. Max was a very good drawer and had the habit of offering friends a portrait in charcoal, made by him, inspired in pictures also taken by himself; and, that was how on my birthday I received as a gift a “picture-portrait” in charcoal with a very particular dedication.; Max had the patience of filling the pen (and I say patience because the referred pen was an eyedropper from the beggining of the century and it had to be filled with a dropper) and, drawing it, using it not only in the drawing but in the dedication itself!
This fact is revealing of the imense sensibility of this man, sensibility which he put at use in his daily life, either with his family, with the people who he related to, or in his practice as a dermatologist.
The emptyness and the sadness remain, but the example of this way of living remains as well, and that, I think was a good spiritual heritage that Max left us!
So long my dear friend!
Legend: In medallion, portrait of myself in charcoal by Max. Above, the drawing of the Waterman 416 with silver overlay, eyedropper, bought in auction.
The celebratory dinner at Montpeliano restaurant ! from left to the right: António Gagean, M. Conceição Neves ( Max's wife ), Ana Paula Leite, Luiz Leite and Max.