5 OCTOBER 1934, Page 6

It would be hard to find any instance of the

re-enact- ment of a novel in real life half as striking as the drama whose details have been narrated this week in a Penn- sylvania court. It is Theodore Dreiser's American Tragedy in almost every particular. The accused man, who comes of a church-going family of good standing, is charged with having killed a girl with whom he had consorted, and who was soon to have borne him a child, in order to marry another girl. The former of the two, precisely like the girl in Dreiser's poignant novel, had been appealing earnestly to the man to marry her. As in the novel he decided to kill her instead. As in the novel he took her to a lake to do it. Only here does the parallel break down, for in the book the victim was taken out in a boat to meet her death in mid-lake ; in the real - life tragedy man and girl swam out from the shore and the girl was killed by a blow on the head. To all this there is one reservation. The story as told consists of the allegations of the prosecution. The case is not yet over and the accused man remains innocent till proved. to be guilty.

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