At this moment the canoe with the three Boys returned. This time each of them was armed with large pieces of coral rock. They pitched them over the wall of the enclosure directly at the big reptiles. One of the rocks hit Lord Charming on one eye. It was obviously painful, for he began swishing madly in a circle, growling and hissing.
“Get away from here!” Nancy yelled at the boys. “Don’t do that again!” The youngsters, looking scared, quickly paddled out of sight.
The crocodile swished his great tail back and forth so rapidly in the water that it sprayed into the air, soaking the onlookers.
“Eric!” Mrs. Cosgrove called frantically. “Eric, come quickly!”
The gamekeeper, a tall man with a gray beard, ran toward the enclosure and looked at Lord Charming. “What’s the matter?” he asked.
“His eye,” Mrs. Cosgrove answered.
“Poor old fellow!” Eric said. “He’s in pain, all right. I hope he won’t lose the sight of that eye. Let me get something to put on it.”
He hurried off and returned with a tube of salve and a pole with a hook on the end of it. Fearlessly he jumped over the cement wall and talked soothingly to the crocodile. “Sorry, old boy,” he said. “Come now, Lord Charming, let me help you.”
Nancy and her friends watched in fascination as Eric flipped the reptile onto his back with the pole, and squirted some of the salve into his injured eye.
All this time Lady Charming had been watching from a distance. When her mate turned over onto his stomach, she hurried forward. Using the pole for support, Eric leaped high over the concrete fence.
The visitors clapped. “You’re marvelous,” Mrs. Cosgrove said.
Eric grinned. “It’s all in a day’s work. Tell me how Lord Charming got hurt.”
Nancy reported that three mean boys had come by in a canoe and hit the crocodile.
Eric scowled. “I can’t stand people, big or little, who take advantage of a defenseless animal!”
“Where’s the trainer today?” Mrs. Cosgrove asked.
“It’s his day off,” Eric replied. “You must come back when he’s here. I’m sure you girls would enjoy the various acts he puts on with the animals,”
“We will,” Mrs. Cosgrove promised, then the visitors turned to leave.
When they reached home, George and Danny were back. They explained their delay, saying they had been caught in the low tide.
“Did you pick up any new clues?” Nancy asked.
“I think so,” George replied. “We went all the way to Crocodile Island. There was no periscope in sight. But The Whisper was tied up at the dock. We got near enough to overhear voices. Apparently someone was talking on a radio telephone.”
“What did he say?” Nancy asked eagerly.
“Tonight at eight,” George replied.
“What do you think it meant?” Bess asked.
George said she and Danny had figured out that either someone was coming to the island or that The Whisper was taking off for a rendezvous with another boat.
Nancy was excited by the report. “I think you’re right,” she said. “Let’s go out there this evening and see what happens.”
Danny said that the tide would be perfect for the trip. He turned to Mrs. Cosgrove. “Okay with you, Mother?”
She smiled. “It sounds like a great adventure, Of course, you must be careful not to get caught. You’ve been warned to stay away from that place, so take it easy!”
She packed a picnic supper for the young people, and before six o’clock Danny and the girls set off.
They ate the food on the way, and arrived at Crocodile Island before sunset. The Whisper left sometime later, and Danny followed it.
Nancy remarked that she was glad they were in a covered boat, “This way our enemies won’t suspect we’re in it, even if they see us,” she said.
Danny nodded. “And the Sampson is powerful enough so we won’t lose them,” he said.
The Whisper headed out into the green channel and traveled for miles and miles.
“It seems as if they’re going around the world,” Bess said after dusk had come on. “Do we have enough gas to follow them?”
“Our supply won’t last forever,” Danny said, “but we can follow for several miles and still have enough gas for the return trip.”