A Comedy in Rubber (Henry)

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A Comedy in Rubber
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Voice of the City»
Microsummary: Two people obsessed with watching accidents and unusual events fall in love, but their habit causes them to miss their own wedding as they join the crowd of onlookers outside the church.

In New York City, there was a tribe of people known as Rubberers, who were obsessed with staring at unusual occurrences and accidents. Among them were William Pry and Violet Seymour, who first met at the scene of a brewery wagon accident.

William Pry — expert at watching accidents; inordinately bowed legs; intensely curious.
Violet Seymour — enthusiastic onlooker; brown birthmark on her neck; determined, passionate.

They fell in love while staring at each other's physical imperfections, with William fixated on a birthmark on Violet's neck and Violet on William's bowed legs. William Pry loved her at first sight.

William Pry loved her at first sight.

Their next encounter was in front of a billboard, where they spent an hour watching a man paint an advertisement. William then took Violet to see a bootblack without an Adam's apple, and they spent another hour gazing at him. Their love grew stronger when they spent three days and nights watching a colored woman named Eliza Jane being served with a subpoena.

"I could stand all day rubbering with you," Violet said to William after they had spent time together watching various accidents and unusual events. It signified their shared passion and the deepening of their relationship.

I could stand all day rubbering with you.

William and Violet decided to get married on June 10th at the Big Church in the Middle of the Block. The church was filled with flowers, and the Rubberers gathered outside, eager to witness the wedding. However, the bride and groom failed to appear at the appointed time, causing concern and a search for their whereabouts.

Eventually, two policemen dragged a battered William and Violet from the crowd of Rubberers. Unable to resist their habit of staring at unusual events, the couple had joined the onlookers to watch themselves enter the church as bride and groom. Their obsession with rubbering had ultimately prevented them from attending their own wedding. Rubber will out.