September 24


  The day after I last wrote, Hodge called to say that Mr.Hood had left town for a few days; until he returned I should keep the briefcase. I had resisted tampering with the elegant box, but this evening I tried the clasp, which was unlocked. Inside I found the June issue of Tel Quel, a tube of H-Preparation, several five-figure checks, and a six-by-eight inch card on which a grid of letters had been typed, over the legend:“Cipher for Amortonelli Location.”

  You can guess my emotions. 
  (A withered palm tree is sketched on the back of the card.A cross marks a spot near its roots.)

  We must work quicker. I enclose money for your trip, if you still want to make it. But should your friends prove unrewarding, waste no more time on them.