'This all a Chequer-board of nights and days
Where Destiny with men for pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,,
And one by one back in the closet lays.'
Edward Fitzgerald (Rubaiyat)
Call it chance, call it destiny, call it error of judgment, the sum is the same: One's number is up, and the addition is final.
Could be that our search for the answer is futile, that all our words are centuries old that we are merely helpless spawns mouthing what is to be.
I prefer to think that the explanation is the extra cup of coffee the night before that slowed the liver action, which in turn stayed the hand at a critical turn when it should have been fast.
Have it your way the past is irrevocable. Could be that O. Henry's 'Three Roads' epitomizes life then the end would be the same, only the road different.
Whatever the causes low liver action or predestination one morning everything went wrong for George Ruhlman. Had a 13 hp. Gaar Scott. For various indefinable reasons, on this particular morning, no one could seem to get started. They finally got the team hitched to the thresher, got it on the road on the way to the next job.
The engine would haul the water tank. Because everything went contrary-wise this morning it was 10 o'clock before they had steam up, ready to move.
But finally they were underway. The Gaar Scott engine is rather close coupled. Its drive wheels are fastened to the boiler's sides. The driver's platform is a comparatively light affair, lacking the rigid support that engines like Frick and Case have. A short distance down the road was a bridge over which the thresher had recently passed. As the engine was going over, the bridge joists collapsed, the drivers of the engine went down, the engine platform pancaked, and the steering handle went through George Ruhlman's stomach, so that he died in less time than it takes to tell this. They had to bend the steering shaft to get him out
'The Moving Finger writes: and having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.'