(Lenin) had a magnetic quality that won the hearts and sympathies of the working people. He could not speak Italian, but the fishermen of Capri who had seen Chaliapin and quite a few other prominent Russians intuitively assigned him a special place. There was great charm in his laughter-the hearty laughter of a man who, able though he was to gauge the clumsiness of human stupidity and the cunning capers of the intellect, could take pleasure in the childlike simplicity of an “artless heart”.
“Only an honest man can laugh like that,” commented the old fisherman Giovanni Spadaro.
Rocking in his boat on waves as blue and transparent as the sky, Lenin tried to learn to catch fish “on the finger", that is with a line, but no rod. The fishermen had told him to snatch in the line the instant his finger felt the slightest vibration.
“Cosi: drin-drin. Capisci,” they said.
At that moment he hooked a fish, and hauled it in, crying out with the delight of a child and the excitement of a hunter:
The fishermen shouted with laughter, like children too, and nicknamed him Signor Drin-Drin.
Long after Lenin had left, they still kept asking:
“How is Signor Drin-Drin? Are you sure the tsar won’t catch him?”