Jacobs is using foreshadowing here. The word means to express sympathy to someone. This is foreshadowing the negative results of the monkey's paw. Remember, Morris had mentioned the monkey's paw to Mrs. White earlier, so they have some knowledge of it. Remember too that Morris has used it, and it has obviously brought him some sorrow, which is the reason for the condolence in the opening scene. The evil nature of the monkey's paw is further foreshadowed by Morris attempting to destroy it and stating that the man from whom he got it had used the last wish to ask for death.