What part of the plot is this in "The Monkey's Paws":
Hark at the wind," said Mr. White, who, having seen a fatal mistake after it was too late, was amiably desirous of preventing his son from seeing it.
The whole context will clearly answer the question for you. Here is the dialogue, which takes place in the beginning of the short story.
‘Listen to the wind,’ said Mr white. He had made a serious mistake and wanted to distract his son’s attention so that he wouldn’t see it.
‘I’m listening,’ said his son, concentrating on the chessboard.
‘I shouldn’t think he’ll come tonight,’ said the father, his hand over the board.
‘Checkmate,’ replied the son.
As you can see, on a windy night, Mr. White and his son, Herbert, are playing a game of chess. Mr. White, in a effort to distract his son, comments on the wind. Mr. White fails to break his concentration, as Herbert sees the fatal move and says, checkmate.
The more important question is that the game of chess and the theme of defeat sets the tone of the short story. The question is whether anyone can manipulate fate. To put it another way, can you beat fate?
As the story progresses, a family friend, Sergeant Major Morris tells them the tale of a monkey's paw, which is supposed to grant three wishes, but with dire consequences. Morris's point is that we should not tamper with fate. Here is what he says about the paw.
‘An old fakir put a spell on it. He was a very holy man and he wanted to show that fate ruled people’s lives, and that to interfere with fate only caused deep sadness. He put a spell on it so that three separate men could each have three wishes from it.’
Mr. and Mrs. White learn this lesson too late. In a sense, fate checkmated them.