Foxhall Keene

Hometown favorite of the 1905 and 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Races

Nationality: American
Born: December 18, 1867
Died: September 25, 1941 73 Years

The hometown favorite of the 1905 and 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Races was millionaire sportsman and Wall Street broker Foxhall Keene. Although proficient in auto racing, polo, equestrian riding, football and shooting, it was a food dish where Keene made his name. But first, let's discuss Keene's Vanderbilt Cup racing career.


Since the origin of the car determined the entry's representation, American-born Keene and his Mercedes drove for Germany. Regardless, spectators cheered wildly when Keene and his #5 racer reached to the 1905 Mineola starting line on Jericho Turnpike.

And the crowd saluted the native Long Islander each time he passed the grandstand.

After five laps, Keene was running a strong third.... until he hit a telegraph pole at I.U. Willets Road and Willis Avenue in Albertson. As captured by a Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographer, Keene's mechanician William Luttgen was pinned under the car. Luckily neither was seriously injured.

Keene tried again in the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race. This time, his #18 Mercedes lasted only four of the 11 laps when he cracked a cylinder in Jericho.

Keene lived just one mile north of the 1906 starting line in his Old Westbury estate called “Rosemary Hall.”

His mansion is still standing and currently being restored to its former glory.

So, how does this relate to chicken à la king?

Many food historians claim that the one and only Foxhall Keene suggested chicken à la king to the chef at New York City's Delmonico’s Restaurant, where it was originally served as chicken à la keene.


February 16, 1959 Sport Illustrated "Throw Your Heart Over"

February 23, 1959 Sports Illustrated "Two Kinds of Luck"

On September 25, 1941 death came to a lonely, penniless 71-year-old man in a cottage on an estate near the village of Ayer's Cliff in the province of Quebec. His body bore the marks and scars of 17 serious injuries sustained in a long and reckless career. His memory held many a scene of bright color and swift excitement enacted in Ireland, England, France and the U.S. His almost incredibly appropriate name was Foxhall Parker Keene, and he represented a vanishing breed: he was the last of the sportsmen who had flourished in the grand manner of America's gilded age.

That was an age when hundreds of Americans were able to live in real palaces, attended by troops of servants, amid the glitter of genuine diamonds and the glint of actual gold. It was also a sportsman's age; and in it Foxhall Keene became a living legend. A sharp amateur boxer, an expert golfer and one of the best wing shots of his generation; a blood at Harvard and a nailer over the hunting country of Leicestershire; a champion steeplechaser; a 10-goal poloist; a winner of all the important jumping trophies at the horse shows; a shrewd appraiser of Thoroughbreds and heir presumptive to a great American stable, and an automobile racer undiscouraged by a series of hair-raising wrecks—all these and more was "Foxie" Keene in the sunshiny days of his prime.

He was born in San Francisco, where his earliest memory was of running after a horse. When he was 7 years old, little Foxhall was told that he and his family were moving to a place called "the East." This was all right with the boy, as long as he could keep with him on the train the hamper containing his favorite bantam fighting cocks. Foxhall might have taken a live alligator as traveling companion if he had wished, for a special car was reserved for the Keene party. This was a tribute to the wealth and power of Foxhall's father, James Robert Keene, a speculator who had piled up $6 million in mining stock operations and was now establishing his family in a big house on Bellevue Avenue, Newport.

Here, one bright morning soon after the Keenes' arrival, a great event took place: Foxhall was called out to meet his first pony. As the delighted boy approached, James Keene stood by to see that all went well. To start getting acquainted, Foxhall patted the pony's neck. The animal rolled its eyes back at him in a reasonably friendly way.

"Well, ride him!" cried Mr. Keene, who was never noted for patience. "Get up on him!"

There was something the pony did not like in Mr. Keene's voice; and a moment later when the man lifted the boy and plumped him on the pony's back, he bolted and ran flat out over the flower beds, across the lawn and up Bellevue Avenue to his former stable a quarter-mile away. At the finish, 7-year-old Foxhall was still on board, clinging to the mane.

Newport had plenty to offer a boy who could so precociously show what it took to be a rider. For one thing, the town at that time was a great polo center. It is true that the officials at the polo grounds would not allow children to play, on the reasonable assumption that they might get hurt. But Bellevue Avenue was wide, and here Foxhall and other boys would practice on their ponies for hours, pounding an old polo ball up and down, with ground rules for strokes between the wheels of a dowager's brougham or landau.

People as well as games were fascinating to a child at Newport in that era when picturesque and fullblown characters were plentiful. One was a foreigner, a man standing 6 feet 4 inches tall and reputed to be a cousin of the German Emperor, who called himself Count Echelstein. This personage figured in a scene which had a strong influence in shaping Foxhall's ideas of admirable conduct. Echelstein bet he could beat another man from the balcony of the Casino down to the sidewalk. At the starter's call the other man broke for the stairs, but Echelstein coolly stepped over the balcony rail. He fell 14 feet to the pavement, where he lay in the shock of a broken arm—the winner. Foolhardy though it was, this sort of gameness would always make a powerful appeal to Foxhall Keene.

Meanwhile, in Wall Street, James Keene was able to demonstrate another brand of gameness after an encounter with the widely feared market manipulator, Jay Gould. When he first heard of Keene's arrival, Gould had growled, "Keene came east in a private car. I'll send him back in a boxcar." Biding his time, Gould invited Keene to join a pool in Western Union, then dumped him for a staggering loss. A lesser man might have gone completely under; but Keene picked himself up, vowed he would never again be "left at the post," and proceeded to show the world he was . still on his feet by further expanding his stable of fine horses, one of which won the classic Grand Prix de Paris in 1881.

Foxhall was 9 years old when the first Keene entry took to the turf, carrying the colors, white with blue spots, which were to be renowned for almost a third of a century. The scene was Jerome Park, the fashionable track recently founded by Mr. Leonard Jerome, from whom an English grandson, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, got one of his names. American racing was dominated by horses of the Lorillard family, founders of Tuxedo Park, and few believed that the Keene entry would be a threat in the Withers Stakes. But when the race was run, the white with blue spots finished on top and the Lorillard colors were trailing in the dust.

In the next few years young Foxhall was to see many a winner come down to the wire carrying the pattern of blue and white. While the Keene fortunes were riding high on the race track, however, the reverse was true in Wall Street. In 1884, trying to corner the wheat market, James Keene was again caught by his old enemy Gould, and when the dust cleared, Keene was literally out on the sidewalk. This appalling reverse—the failure was publicly placed at $6 million—caused James Keene to come to a far-reaching decision: he would leave Newport and move his family to Cedarhurst on Long Island. The Hempstead Peninsula had been fashionable as far back as the early 1800s, and the Rockaway Indians had hunted there for centuries before. By the time the Keenes arrived, a colony of the carriage trade—Harrimans, Cowdins, Cheevers, the Whitelaw Reids, the Sidney Ripleys, the Lawrence Turnures—had settled around Cedarhurst. "It was a very sporting community," Foxhall recalled. "Everyone rode, hunted, played polo, fairly lived out of doors. Sunday mornings you could see 40 or 50 men riding over the countryside, larking over the fences and having a wonderful carefree time." On one of those fine carefree mornings the governors of the Rockaway Hunting Club, founded a short time before, went into a caucus under a tree and made the 14-year-old boy a member.

Even as a 14-year-old, wiry and quick, Foxhall was showing a remarkable range of skills. He began fox hunting mounted on a pony, as spirited as the splendid one at Newport, who scrambled over fences like a dog. He was regarded as a good partner or opponent for any adult player at tennis or golf, and he went into 10-mile walking races, then a popular sport, without handicap on account of his youth. A stated match with two grown men, one of whom was Mrs. Astor's brother, Mr. Willing, was so close at the finish that all three contestants could have been covered by the blanket of a very small Indian.

The boy soon discovered another natural aptitude in shooting. It was observed that he could bring up and fire any gun very smoothly, and that something in front almost invariably flew apart when he did so. One day a great pigeon shoot was announced. A certain Colonel Wagstaff bought Foxhall in the pool for $2, lent him a shotgun and told him to blaze away. Foxhall bet $5 on himself, killed 13 pigeons in a row and won $565.

Shortly after Foxhall's election, the Rockaway Hunting Club moved from its modest home into a fine new building, with a magnificently planned steeplechase course looping over the countryside. To young Foxhall the club was an area of fascination and delight, reassuring and encouraging like the Great Good Place described by Henry James. The pleasant succession of days and seasons was frequently enlivened by an odd wager or a match race. One which deeply impressed Foxhall was the moonlight steeplechase run off between Horace L. Washington and Lawrence Turnure. Both riders dashed over the eerily lit racecourse like Tarn O'Shanter heading for the bridge at midnight, and Turnure was leading in the stretch when Washington came on to win by a length. Foxhall approved of this so highly that he made it a rule thereafter to ride across country whenever he was out at night, if there was so much as a sliver of moon to light him on his way.

Soon afterward Foxhall suffered the first of his lifelong series of bad injuries when a horse called Flames threw him to the Jericho Turnpike and he sustained a broken collarbone. He got on his feet and was limping down the road when a hearse came by and its driver offered him a lift. Noting the nature of the rig, Foxhall said, "Nothing doing!" He got home under his own power, took to his bed and was up and about again in a few days.

In this incident Foxhall was showing at an early age two of his outstanding characteristics: refusal to be downed by painful injury and quick recuperative power. His abilities did not go unnoticed, and one day William K. Thorne, a pillar of the Rock-away Hunt, made him a proposition: "What do you say to riding Tomahawk in the fall meeting here?"

"I'm afraid I can't win for you," Foxhall said. "I don't know enough about jumping races."

"You'll have to start sometime," said Mr. Thorne, "and you'll never begin younger. Try Tomahawk. He's fast as lightning—but I warn you, he pulls like the deuce."

Persuaded at last to accept this challenge, Foxhall conferred with his owner on a racing plan. The Rockaway course had not been laid out with the safety of riders as a prime consideration. Thinking about it later, Foxhall remarked, "Your horse had to be a leaper, or you were killed." Tomahawk leaped like a stag—and that suggested how to ride the race.

"Remember, the first time round is like a hunt," said Mr. Thorne. This meant sit tight and keep wide while the hazards took toll of the opposition. The plan was theoretically sound, but in the race Foxhall almost lost control of the powerful horse. After one circuit his hands and forearms were so tired that he could scarcely hold the reins. Half a mile from the finish, the reins dropped from his fingers altogether and Foxhall held on by matting his hands in the mane. Tomahawk carried him over the line a winner by 150 yards.

After the race, Foxhall carefully sorted out his impressions. He had to admit he had been more dead than alive at the end. "You can't do anything well in this world unless you work at it," he told himself, and he set out to develop his own system of training for fitness as a boy in a man's game. His secret goal was to become the best amateur jockey in the U.S.

His training was rigorous. He took six 30-yard sprints before breakfast, increasing to 80 yards as the muscles toned up. Frequently he ran a mile on the beach at dawn or jogged for hours over the roads around Cedarhurst, holding the tail gate of a wagon and wearing a rubber shirt. Often his training companions were the terrific rider, George Work, and another clipper, Harry Harwood, who was to die of a broken back after the professionals crowded him through the fence at Ivy City.

Above all, Foxhall decided, a steeplechaser should hunt seriously. The boy became noted for following hounds straight across country like an express train. According to one observer, "he never turned his head while hunting." Falls were not few, and Foxhall Keene was not the only stouthearted rider on Long Island in those days. He himself was impressed when a bold rider, Mr. Theodore Roosevelt, came a crumpler and broke his arm, yet remounted and finished the hunt.

The incessant training that Foxhall put himself through, together with his talent, paid off to a high degree. More and more owners called on the wiry, fearless boy to take their entries over the hazards of the eastern courses. And before his 17th birthday Foxhall actually did become the nation's champion jockey, amateur or professional, "over the sticks." In this top season he entered 101 races and won 79, while thousands of bettors blessed his name.

It was in this period that Ernest and Ren� La Montagne joined Foxhall in a modest racing organization which they called the Queens County Stable. Foxhall took over the riding while his associates acted as trainers and purchasing agents. The La Montagnes had been impressed by the affair of the racing pony Buckshot, who came from the romantic West. Some months before Foxhall and his friends made Buckshot's acquaintance, an Oklahoma bank robber had commandeered the speedy little animal to escape from the scene of his crime. When Buckshot outdistanced the posse, the robber abandoned his mount and vanished into the tall timber on foot. Buckshot was bought for $300 by Joe Stevens, a friend of Foxhall, and shipped East.

In September 1887 Foxhall presented himself as an entering freshman at Harvard. His impact on the place was immediate. He started by giving an uproarious "punch," or drinking bout, even though friends in the upper classes had specifically warned against this. The punch became so noisy that it drew the attention of the proctors. For the next 10 days, though grilled and brainwashed by successive teams of faculty interrogators, Foxhall stoutly refused to peach on his co-host, a boy from Chicago named Marshall Field. At last the fuming faculty suspended Keene for three months.

Returning after the Christmas holidays, Foxhall rented a house and hired a tutor who got him through the midyear examinations. That spring he went out for football, but his career in this sport, though promising, was short-lived. Working out for the Penn game in the fall, Keene was pulled unconscious from under a pile of players. An ambulance hurried him to the hospital, where it was found that he had a ruptured kidney. As usual, he was up in a short time, but the college doctors prohibited any more football that year.

Thus involuntarily relieved of football duties, Foxhall resumed training for the Harvard boxing tournament, polishing the style which he had learned under Billy Edwards, the former topnotch lightweight professional. He developed such quickness that he could box effectively against another amateur with one hand tied behind him. But Foxhall's ambition to win the lightweight title had to be abandoned at the last moment when he was kayoed by measles before he could enter the ring. He concluded that there was something unlucky about Harvard, and at the end of the year he left for good.

Sport was clearly Foxhall Keene's career and, emerging from Cambridge, he put himself to work—harder than a ditchdigger, he sometimes thought—to remain a top hand at racing, polo, fox hunting and jumping. In addition, he perfected himself in a number of nonequestrian sports. At golf he consistently shot in the low 70s. At lawn tennis he could hold his own with national champions. At court tennis he could crowd the noted Newport professional and world champion, Tom Pettit, though in one celebrated match Pettit wore roller skates as a handicap. He also gave time to shooting, canoeing, figure skating and studying the angles of bottle pool. "I was always eager to be as good as possible in any sport I undertook," Keene said.

His contemporaries thought he was very good indeed. There were no takers when Foxhall's father offered to bet $100,000 on his son at $10,000 each in any 10 sports. Had anyone put the money down, Mr. Keene would have been well able to cover it, for he had rebuilt his fortunes and was riding high. And the prospects were good that he would stay rich—in 1892 Jay Gould, who had seemed able to plunder the Keene fortunes at will, went to his final reward. And the Keene stable was established at Castleton, Ky., with all breeding and training put under command of a horse-wise, julep-judging uncle, Major Foxhall Alexander Daingerfield.

Foxhall Keene had a splendid 21st birthday celebration as crown prince of the Keene racing empire. At this time, while his father was helping to found The Jockey Club, which would hold highest authority on matters of breeding, registration and flat racing, Foxhall was among those who established the National Hunt and Steeplechase Association, an equally authoritative body in its field.

In those days the gentleman sportsman held a highly respected place, and young Mr. Keene was already an almost perfect example of the type. Deferred to by sporting editors and promoters, such a man might be invited to hold the watch at an illegal prizefight on a barge or the stakes at a cockfight in a shuttered-up barn on some side road in the country. The sportsman was expected to be a trained athlete himself, able to take care of any situation. Foxhall Keene lived up to the code: proud of his boxing ability, for instance, he never backed down in the turbulent racing crowds. This interest in boxing was not all because of the occasional need for self-defense. He liked to watch professional fights and through constant attendance became a knowing judge of performance. In 1892 when John L. Sullivan announced that he would defend his title in New Orleans against Jim Corbett, whom he had publicly scorned, Foxhall Keene headed an informal reunion of six Harvard classmates who traveled in a private car to see this event. They arrived in a roaring, wide-open town crowded with thousands of toughs and bums from all over the country. The Harvard bloods strolled everywhere among the fighting drunks and truculent bullies, even tempting insult by wearing flowers in their buttonholes. At the fight they saw age—and Corbett—catch up with Sullivan as he crashed to the canvas in the 21st round. The members of the Harvard party were further edified when, before retiring to his dressing room, the ex-champion lumbered to the ropes and growled, "Booze done it!"

The next important sporting scene on which Keene made an entrance was the famed fox hunting country of County Meath in Ireland. He was introduced here by an esteemed friend, Willie Eustace, son of the U.S. Ambassador to France, of whom Foxhall said, "He was a good man on a horse. If six people saw the end of a hard hunt, he was one of the six, and if only four finished, he would be one of the four." This description fitted Keene himself, who found the fast company of County Meath exactly to his taste.

This hunting, delightful though it was, caused the most alarming accident of Keene's career. At a brook too broad for leaping, Keene and his horse fell and the animal's shoulder came down on the rider's head. With blood flowing from his mouth and nose, Foxhall somehow caught the horse and got across a couple of fields to a primitive inn where he rested for a while. Not feeling anywhere near up to riding home, he appealed to a peasant who came by in a cart, but the Irishman took him for a Britisher and said, "You may rot in the field for all I care." At last Keene forced himself into the saddle and rode, still bleeding, eight miles to the nearest village, where he was attended by a doctor who also numbered cows and horses among his patients.

Despite the alarming nature of his injury, Keene was up again within a few days and went out to lunch with a friend named Percy Maynard, master of the Ward Union Stag Hounds and "a wonderful judge of horses and champagne." After lunch, the two sportsmen strolled out to Fairyhouse Race Course. Here Keene unwittingly performed the most dangerous act of his life when he stooped to pick a flower for his buttonhole. He collapsed, hemorrhaging, and appeared in such bad shape that the New York Herald actually reported: " Foxhall Keene is dying. The best gentleman jockey that this country ever knew, and one of the boldest and best crosscountry riders, may have breathed his last by the time this article reaches the eyes of his hundreds of friends." But the next day the World corrected the story with the headline: FOXHALL KEENE UP AGAIN.

Up he was indeed and ready to shift his headquarters to the territory of the remarkable pack of hounds maintained by the 200-year-old Quorn Hunt in the "cut-'em-down countries" of Leicestershire. This area, in the heart of England, centered around the market town of Melton Mowbray, famed since ancient times as a sporting resort and also for the manufacture of pork pies. Red-faced farmers, many of them hard-riding fox hunters, trooped into town on market days, and during the season from October to April the rich and great took nearby country houses, while sportsmen of the middling sort put up at clubs and taverns, renting horses by the day. Looking out at evening over the mist-strewn countryside from North Lodge, the first of a series of big houses he was to rent hereabouts through the next 25 years, Keene felt that he was now in a position to enjoy the finest hunting in the world.

Certainly he had come to a place that was close to many of the basic influences which made him what he was. Here, in the Midlands during the early 19th century, a new kind of fox hunting had been developed, faster and more specialized than the loosely run sport of the old days. Like Keene, the famous past masters of the Quorn had been amazingly versatile. There was, for example, the celebrated John Osbaldeston, the "Squire of England," a limping, short-legged man with a face like a fox cub, who excelled at boxing, pigeon shooting, steeplechasing and billiards and was one of the best amateur cricketers in the country. There was Thomas Assheton Smith, who fought a six-foot coal heaver in a street brawl and got two black eyes, though he flattened his man and later sent him a �5 note as consolation. It was this same Assheton Smith who made the classic remark on the hazards of hunting: "Throw your heart over and your horse will follow!"

When Foxhall made his first appearance with the Quorn, the hunt was prospering under one of its great masters, the fifth Earl of Lonsdale, a sportsman who was admired by everyone from the Queen down to the humblest road sweeper. This genial peer was president of the National Sporting Club and donor of the belt for the British professional boxing championship. He cast a kindly eye on the young American who presented himself to the Quorn wearing impeccable doeskins, spurs, a silk hat and a white neck scarf properly tied. "Fellow's not badly turned out," Lonsdale remarked to a friend.

In the first six weeks' hunting with the Quorn, Keene had 12 falls, some of which he laid to the inferior quality of rented horses. Accordingly he sent for his two dozen Irish hunters, including the lovely black Bally Firmott, with whom he swore he could go all day "and never get to the end of him." On such mounts Keene was soon recognized by the hunt servants—unblinking judges of class—as a "nailer" and "a regular tiger." A typical incident occurred when, mounted on the Irish import Twenty-Four and leaving a crowded lane to cut across a field, Keene was heading for a high wattle fence. Someone had the decency to yell that there was a big ditch on the other side, but Keene spurred on all the harder and a pinched British voice was heard to declare, "He will have the worst fall of his life." Horse and man rose and seemed to fly over the obstacle. Instantly a shout came from spectators on the other side—Twenty-Four had cleared the ditch as well. Next day a posse of Meltonians found it measured 18 feet wide. They might not have been so surprised if they had known that Twenty-Four got his name for leaping clean over a ditch just that number of feet wide in Ireland.

Not all Keene's fabulous hunters came from Ireland. He bought one of his favorites, Blue Peter, directly from the owner in Melton Mowbray simply because he liked the looks of the big, rugged gray. The price was 90 guineas, cash down without a veterinarian's examination. Blue Peter turned out to be a wonderful fencer but so unruly that Keene had to put in two weeks' hunting on other mounts to work into shape whenever he planned to ride him. And when he did, the hunting was usually first-class, so that the gray acquired the reputation of a talisman. "Ah, Keene, there you are," the master was likely to say when Foxhall and Blue Peter appeared. "I see your man has Blue Peter out. Get on him and bring us luck."

In training his hunters, Foxhall Keene's maxim was, "If you see anything that is unjumpable, go jump it anyhow." The fleet mare Chorus (by Chorister), foaled at Castleton Farm, was the sort to profit from this kind of schooling. Keene was out on Chorus one day when the hounds went through a pedestrian passage under a railway embankment. Chorus jumped onto the tracks and then horse and rider saw that the other side was wired off. There was nothing for it but go straight along between the rails, hoping no train would appear. Shortly they came to a granite balustrade with the ground eight feet below. Keene let Chorus look it over and was gratified when she gathered her feet beneath her and, with catlike grace, jumped down.

Although they regarded him with extremes uspicion when he first turned out, the Quorn people eventually expressed unanimous approval of Keene's fearless riding. It is true that some carpers said his manners were "almost too polished for an American." However, Britons of lesser status had no choice but to accept Foxhall Keene when they saw him treated with respect by the crack riders "Buck" Barclay and Teddy Brooks, by Lady Westmorland, the Duchess of Sutherland and Captain David Beatty, who was to be Admiral of the Fleet. On his side, Keene liked many of the English very well. Some of these people, when one got to know them, proved to have almost the easy touch of the best Virginians or Long Islanders. Others, without question, were bullheaded, bad-tempered and odd; and many prime eccentrics in the grand old manner were still to be seen. One was a parson, the Rev. Mr. Seabrook of Waltham, who rode after hounds as though pursued by fiends from hell. Some idea of the reverend gentleman's attitude toward dangers of the chase may be gained from an exchange as he approached a treacherous spot and Foxhall shouted, "Look out, Parson! There's wire in that fence!" Seabrook roared back, "The hell there is!"—and sailed on over.

But of all those who liked and admired Foxhall Keene, the most notable was the master himself, Lord Lonsdale, whose views on many subjects closely paralleled those of his young American friend. The final accolade came one day with the news that for the first time in history the Quorn was entering a match race against the neighboring Pytchley Hunt. Lonsdale wanted Keene to lead the six-man team which would carry the colors of the Quorn.

"Very well, I'll ride Blue Peter," said Foxhall Keene.

"No," said Lord Lonsdale. "You cannot risk taking a chance on Blue Peter in a race. Ride Bally Firmott."

Recalling his struggles with Blue Peter as to what line of country should be taken, Keene agreed. Nothing must interfere with this chance for an American sportsman to lead a British organization to victory over an ancient rival. Accordingly Keene got Bally Firmott ready, while Lonsdale prepared to entertain all comers at lunch before the race. At this gathering, the open-handed master of the Quorn was pleased to see 3,000 guests of high and low degree guzzle 200 cases of champagne and a proportionate amount of distilled liquor. The entire company then crowded into the area around the finish.

Five miles away the 10 riders representing the two hunts lined up and listened to the starter: "This will be a true steeplechase, except that the goal is not a church tower. Do you see that flag on the hill at Dalby? That's your mark. You must not go over 50 yards on a road, and you must not jump at any place where you see a red flag on a hedge. Otherwise go as you please."

Away they went, making heavy going on turf that had been saturated by heavy rains. Keene rode his own line, and as he burst over the last fence, Bally Firmott was 30 yards in the lead with the finish only 50 yards away. But in the hysterical excitement a mounted spectator, very probably drunk on Lonsdale's liquor, rode into Bally Firmott, and Keene was thrown. Miraculously, he was not killed when the field thundered down over the slippery turf. Managing to remount and complete the race, he came in fifth, and the Quorn won the day on points.

Bally Firmott, however, never recovered his nerve. From that day on, like Masefield's Right Royal, "When he reached the straight where the crowds began, he would make no effort for any man." For his owner, the spill at the finish was frustration of a truly heartbreaking kind. But Foxhall Keene still had a long way to go; and many a time thereafter was he to fall and ride again.

One summer afternoon shortly after the turn of the century the residents of Newport, social center of America in that gilded age, were treated to a most extraordinary sight. Perched in the driver's seat of a 70-hp Mors (below right), his Panama set firmly on his head, was Foxhall Keene, the most noted amateur jockey, huntsman, steeplechaser and all-round sportsman of his time. Like the redoubtable Mr. Toad of Toad Hall in Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows, Foxhall Keene had found a new and fascinating sport, and it was not long before his exploits in the field of motor racing added new color and excitement to a legendary career.

That career had already made him one of the most frequently and most spectacularly injured sportsmen of all time. In 1936, when 66 years old, he totaled his hurts at one broken leg; one compound fracture of the ankle; nose broken twice; one ruptured kidney; one nearly fatal internal hemorrhage; brain concussion three times, lying senseless for periods of 17 minutes, 30 minutes, and 16 days; one broken neck, collarbone broken three times; one dislocated shoulder; three broken ribs; and six stitches in his eyelid after being hit by a polo ball.

The list also shows that the ancient and traditional sports of fox hunting, steeplechasing and polo inflicted a good part of the damage to Keene's wiry frame (140 pounds at racing weight). But he moved with his times, and he listened with approval to the new noise of the automobile. His first motor vehicle was a three-wheeler which he bought in Paris in 1895. Before venturing on a trial run to Versailles, Keene learned to drive by practicing in a large garret. Eventually he got the machine up to 30 miles an hour on the flat, and his first motor accident, a minor one, was recorded that year.

By 1901 Keene was driving a $14,000 Mors in the race from Paris to Berlin. He planned to make up for lack of road technique by pouring on the power, and by this method achieved second place as the racers stormed through Bastien. He hoped to catch Henri Fournier, also in a Mors, who was leading the pack with some two dozen others strung out behind. Bouncing across a culvert Keene went off the road and turned over. He and his mechanic were thrown clear and landed in a potato patch. It took them two hours and five minutes to get the car going again, and as they went roaring through Aix-la-Chapelle, Keene was in 16th place. Between Hanover and Frankfurt, however, the car broke down completely, and the race was over as far as Keene was concerned.

Nevertheless, this taste of road racing made Keene begin to give it close attention and hours of practice, as was his custom with any sport. He therefore bought a Mercedes and practiced so assiduously that the manufacturers invited him to join their team in the race for the Gordon Bennet Cup in Ireland in 1903. Staying in England at the time, Keene kept the powerful, blunt-snouted car at Dieppe and frequently crossed the Channel for a day or two of training over the moderately policed French roads. It was the sort of motoring which used to be described in the romances of Mr. Dornford Yates: an episode of the exact period flavor occurred when Miss Hildegarde Oelrichs, a New York society friend who was vacationing at Dieppe, asked Keene if he would run her up to Paris. He was delighted to do this, and they set out early, Keene capped and goggled, his passenger costumed for motoring in the fashion of the time. On a straight stretch over rolling country, Keene opened the throttle and the car surged forward.

"Oh, this is lovely!" the lady cried, "but what happens if there is something coming up one of those hills as we reach the crest?"

Miss Oelrichs found out as they topped the next rise. Coming out of the hollow was a heavy two-wheeled cart pulled by a pair of horses. The Frenchman in charge of this vehicle jumped off and seized the horses' heads, pulling them to one side and so causing the cart's long tail to swing progressively farther out over the road. Years later, although his memory was not accurate as to the speed, Keene still had the scene clearly in mind: "It was impossible for us to stop, so I instantly decided to make a run for it. I opened the throttle wide, and at a terrific pace we thundered down on the cart that was slowly blotting out the road. On our right the grass grew firmly, flush with the roadside, and I borrowed as much of that as I could. We just squeaked by, doing, I should think, 120 miles per hour. At the top of the next hill I stopped and examined the car. There, on the left rear hub, was a dent like the blow of a sledge hammer. It was as near a thing as I ever hope to see."

It is difficult now to imagine the wide-ranging freedom of motoring before the days of heavy traffic and organized police control. Under those" free conditions Keene once shot across Europe in time which would be hard to duplicate today. Entered in the Paris- Madrid race, he found that through an oversight his car was in Stuttgart when it should have been in the hands of Mercedes representatives in Paris for the weighing-in. Accompanied by his German mechanic, a man named Lutkin, Keene stepped off the night train in Stuttgart at 6 the following morning. They picked up their car and started back to Paris, 500 miles away over roads still largely unpaved. With Keene at the wheel for the entire journey, they drove into the Tuileries Gardens at 7 that evening, half an hour before the weighin deadline.

Foxhall had been abroad when American road racing had its thunderous start in 1904 with the race to which William K. Vanderbilt gave his name and the winner's award. But he had high hopes that he could win the second running for the Vanderbilt Cup, in 1905. Germany entered four cars, and four teams of five cars each represented France, Italy and the U.S., a bugle call heralding their approach to the straightaway in front of the grandstand. Alden Hatch wrote later how Keene's Mercedes came from beyond the curve of the narrow road with a tremendous roar, tearing the early-morning mists apart as orange flame shot from its flanks and smoke swirled in its wake. He saw "in the midst of that streak of fire and smoke a slim calm figure...plainly master of the occasion." And he could not resist yelling at the top of his voice, "Yea-a-ay Foxie!"—as did thousands of others who hoped an American driver, even if in a German car, would win the day.

But here again Foxhall Keene was up among the leaders only to lose his position almost at the price of his neck. The Albertson S turn was to end the hopes of another driver, Louis Chevrolet, and at this hazard Keene also came to grief. He went into it in good style, though perhaps a trifle too fast to be absolutely sure of coming out right side up at the other end. In the middle of the turn, his heavy car lurched from the course and slammed into a telegraph pole. Keene and his racing companion were dazed but not seriously hurt. As a further piece of luck, there was a course observer's station nearby with a field telephone through which Foxhall was able to get a message to his worried mother that he had not been killed.

Keene went out again for the Vanderbilt Cup three years later. This time his car caught fire and he singed his mustache and eyebrows while coolly fighting the flames. Such exploits led a contemporary journalist to conclude: "Mr. Keene has two kinds of luck—the bad luck that brings on the accidents and the good luck that somehow in the face of sinister possibilities manages to bring him off pretty well."

For all of his dash, Keene never did develop the skill—or luck—which might have won him top rank in motor racing. Thus, although he recommended the sport as "healthy and invigorating," his main attention was still devoted to horses, his first and lasting love. He had, of course, the perfect establishment in the now famous Keene stables at Castleton Farm in Kentucky, and it was there, in 1902, that he showed himself to be as horse-wise as his father or his uncle, Major Foxhall Alexander Daingerfield, the noted breeder, trainer and judge of mint juleps who presided over the Keene racing empire. They had bought a mare named Optime, in foal to the English stallion Melton, and Foxhall named her bay colt after Sysonby Lodge, one of the series of houses he rented in the Leicestershire hunting country. His eye was first drawn by Sysonby's well-proportioned frame, and he was further interested in the fine gray hairs which could be seen on the dark colt. These markings, known as "Birdcatcher hairs," were believed to appear only on descendants of the great sire Irish Birdcatcher. James Keene and Major Daingerfield wanted to put Sysonby up for sale, Irish Birdcatcher hairs and all, but Foxhall said, "You can't do this, Father. He is so beautiful." He was right, and not on esthetic grounds alone, for Sysonby proved to be one of the swiftest and most valuable race horses in history. He started his racing career with a win and was never defeated except in the Futurity of 1904. (On this occasion, a groom who flashed a big bankroll confessed under questioning that he had been bribed to administer a sedative.)

Sysonby's finest hour came at Saratoga in the Great Republic Stakes, for a purse of $41,465, which must surely be the equivalent of three times that amount today. Sporting men were agog when word spread that Richard A. Canfield, proprietor of a dignified gambling house, had given Sysonby the go-by to bet $30,000 on Diamond Jim Brady's Oiseau. The wolf-eyed sharpers in the vast lobbies and endless corridors of the Saratoga hotels asked each other what this might mean, for Canfield, though he gave himself the airs of a bishop, was a professional gambler, and like all his breed loved a sure thing and hated to lose as the devil hates holy water.

National interest was focused on the track when Sysonby went to the post before a record crowd, at a price of 9 to 20, with Dave Nicol up. Canfield himself was there, and James Buchanan Brady bowed to the crowd from an owner's box, his huge belly straining at the diamond buttons on his fancy vest. An outstanding glutton even in that age of great eaters, Diamond Jim had at his side a hamper of cold chicken and lobster mayonnaise to see him through until the serious eating could begin. Near the infield rail stood Foxhall Keene; he had come a crowner a few days before and was leaning on crutches with his leg in a cast.

The wise guys exchanged nudges at the start when "Syse" lunged side-wise and let the field get 100 yards ahead before he squared away. Sighted right at last, he turned on such a burst that he clocked the first three furlongs of the mile-and-a-quarter race in 32 4/5 seconds, a time which stood for years. Despite the fact that he was going around a turn, Sysonby passed Oiseau and the half-mile pole at the same time, going on to win by several lengths. There was general delirium; the race had been over for 15 minutes before Foxhall Keene realized that he had thrown his crutches away.

Sysonby never again generated quite such excitement, but he continued to run in front of other horses in a way which sometimes deprived him of opposition. That same year, for example, in the Century Stakes at Sheepshead Bay, Sysonby's backers couldn't get bets at 1 to 20, and he came home in a canter. And so it went until one day in the spring of 1906, when Foxhall Keene, visiting in Colorado Springs, got word from his friend DeCourcey Forbes that Sysonby was suffering from an infection, apparently caused by a scratch on a fetlock which Trainer Jimmy Rowe had discounted as of no importance when it was first observed. Foxhall returned to New York and found his father waiting in the station. They went at once to Sheepshead Bay, where the Keene horses were stabled. Here they were met by Rowe and a group of veterinarians. Without a word the entire party walked down the long shed to Sysonby's stall. "There he is," said Mr. Keene. "What do you think?" After one look Foxhall answered, "He's going to die."

"There's only one thing left," Foxhall went on. "We'll get the best doctor in New York."

"You can't ask a regular doctor to come into a case like this," Mr. Keene protested, but Foxhall went to the telephone and called his personal physician, Dr. Charles Barrows.

"This is a strange thing that I am going to ask, Doctor," Foxhall began.

"I know," said the doctor quickly. "It's Sysonby. He's in the afternoon paper."

"Will you come?"

"I'd rather cure that horse than half my patients," said Dr. Barrows. "I'll come at once and leave my first assistant at the stables."

But even the science of Dr. Barrows, and his first assistant, was of no avail. In a few days 4,000 people, including old James Keene, openly wept at the graveside of "the greatest race horse of all time."

Although 1907 was the greatest year of all for the Keene stables—the $397,342 earned is a tremendous take even when compared to today's inflated purses—shadows were beginning to fall here and there over Foxhall's notable career. He had married a lady 10 years his senior; he now ended their relationship by sending her a legally phrased letter of separation. There were no children, and a divorce was granted after a while; but divorce in those days was not as easily accepted in the standards of social behavior as today, and the affair raised criticism in some quarters. There was also an unpleasant aftermath to his wholly admirable year as master of the Meadow Brook Hunt, to which he had been elected in 1903: this organization had suffered the embarrassment of having hounds fail to distinguish between a fox and a Pekingese dog, killing the latter in a suburban backyard, a shortcoming which Keene rectified by importing, at his own expense, a pack of the best hounds that Melton Mowbray could produce. He had also imported a professional English huntsman, James Cotsworth; now this man had the audacity to complain that he had lent Keene money, had met bills at his instruction and had not been paid. In settling this matter, Keene remarked that all he wanted from Cotsworth was strict attention to business; he said he respected the fellow as "a hard little man over country."

Foxhall Keene was also making a consistent contribution to the liveliness of the sporting scene in polo, then as now a highly spectacular game, appealing to players' and onlookers' eyes and ears with something of the fire and movement of a cavalry charge. He maintained a handicap of 10 goals, the sport's highest rating, and was the crowd-thrilling mainstay of the team from the Rockaway Hunting Club.

Harry Payne Whitney, whose father, William Collins Whitney, had replaced Jay Gould as the older Keene's archrival on Wall Street, was also a notable poloist; but there was no question that Keene was the more dramatic player. They had the same position, No. 3, but Whitney could not equal Keene's magnificent dash. No one could; nor was Keene's game entirely made up of reckless improvisation. He put in long hours of practice and spent a great deal of money to see that ponies and equipment were exactly right. Each pony had a saddle specially made so that Keene was always precisely the same distance from the ground. Every spring he would visit Holbrow's in Pall Mall and pick out 50 or 60 canes to be made into mallets, all with seven-ounce heads, for he considered anything heavier unsporting. A golf club maker shaped each handle to his grip.

In 1902 a match was at last arranged in which American challengers would attempt to regain the Westchester Cup, lost to England in 1886 in the first international polo series. Keene, at 32, prepared to lead the American players, who gathered in England to train. Louis Agassiz was to be at No. 1, with John Cowdin at No. 2 and Larry Waterbury back. Besides practicing polo, Keene was hunting regularly around Melton Mowbray, and here the sinister side of his luck came up when he took an ugly fall that nearly jarred the life out of him, fracturing a vertebra in his neck. Nevertheless, he continued to attend practice at the polo field, driving over each morning in his big touring car. One day the gears locked in reverse, and since he couldn't turn his head because of the broken neck, Larry Waterbury perched on the dash board to steer while Foxhall worked the pedals and the car went down the road backward. In spite of this indomitable spirit Keene was not able to play. The British won the match two games to one, and the cup stayed where it was.

For the next seven years there was no international play; but Keene continued to enter all sorts of polo matches—besides hunting and racing—on both sides of the Atlantic. Undoubtedly, he felt that when another American team was got up he would be its captain. But the U.S. Polo Association had other ideas. In 1909, when the next international match was arranged, the team which was to be known as the Big Four took the field, with Harry Payne Whitney at its head. Larry Waterbury was No. 1, his brother Monty No. 2, with Devereux Milburn, the game's most powerful player, at back.

The week before the cup match, Foxhall Keene played for Ranelagh against the Big Four in the English open tournament. As they rode out, Keene said to his No. 1, "If you can keep Milburn from coming into the game forehanded, I will take care of his backhands." Afterward, Keene remembered riding out on a fresh Argentine pony at half time with the teams all even. The next thing he knew, he found himself on the sidelines talking with two onlookers, Mrs. Guy Fen wick and Lady Violet Brassey, and he heard his manservant Lavender say, "Mr. Keene, the game is over." What had happened was that Keene had taken a spill, and Captain Jenner of the British side, Waterbury, Milburn and his own pony had piled on top. Play was held up while Keene lay unconscious for 30 minutes, after which he got on his feet and finished the game in a mental blank. This strange exploit put Foxhall Keene in conspicuous headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. To nobody's real surprise, it was Harry Payne Whitney who a few days later led the Americans to victory over the British international side and so at long last returned the now almost legendary Westchester Cup to North America.

Whitney was hailed as a great playing captain; but Foxhall Keene thought him a poor tactician and a "stentorian martinet" on the field. Keene was convinced he could have done as well, or better, with "Dev Milburn power" behind him. However that might have been, there is no question that during this period Keene fought Whitney & Co. to a standstill one blistering afternoon at the Rockaway Club. On this occasion the home team met Meadow Brook, which was represented by three-quarters of the Big Four, Nat Reynal playing in place of Larry Waterbury, with no handicaps. When play began at 6:30 p.m. the thermometer on the clubhouse porch showed 101�. Foxhall Keene time after time hacked the ball from the goal mouth, taking it to enemy ground like a scoring defenseman in hockey rushing the puck. In the seventh period the teams were still tied, with darkness rapidly closing down, and Alden Hatch, who was watching, knew what the cry would be at the clang of the final bell, which signaled that Rockaway had won at least a moral victory. The dark field echoed, "Yea-a-ay, Foxie!"


In spite of such sincere admiration which he reaped on the fields of sport, Keene was not always fortunate in what would now be called public relations. The management of the Waldorf, for example, came into court in 1912 brandishing a bill to the amount of $7,036 on which they claimed Keene had paid only a little over $1,000, though the account had run for years. Obviously Foxhall Keene did not care what ordinary people might think of such lordly disregard for financial detail. His father was the only person to whom he was responsible, and if Mr. Keene ever expressed anything other than approval for his son's behavior, it was not in such terms as to cause any change. In fact, James Keene never denied his son anything; and to all outward appearances he took great satisfaction in the thought that he had reared a hard-riding dandy fit to risk his neck with the best of them anywhere in the world. It is the more surprising, therefore, that as the end of his life drew near, the father prepared for the son a shocking rebuke which was abruptly revealed after he was dead.

The ailing old James Keene died on January 3, 1913. A few days later his will was opened. "I have intentionally omitted making any special provision for my son, Foxhall, and my daughter, Jessie," the dead voice spoke through the document, "relying upon my wife to hereafter make such provision for them as shall be proper." This will canceled an earlier one which had set up trust funds for Foxhall and his sister.

If the will was a blow to Foxhall, he never showed it; in fact, he continued in exactly the same style of life as before. And in the summer after his father's death he had one more opportunity—his last one—to head the American polo team in international competition when a challenge came again from England.

As usual, Harry Whitney and the Big Four prepared to carry the American colors. But the Big Four seemed to have lost their collective edge. Nothing went right in practice and their play grew more and more ragged. At last the committee lost faith in them and turned to Foxhall Keene. They laid the matter entirely in his hands, asking him to select, train and lead the American team. At once he asked Devereux Milburn and two other good players—Louis Stoddard and Malcolm Stevenson—to join him.

Keene hurried his men into practice, for the vacillation of the Whitney forces had left but little time. A firebrand on horseback, he drove the team relentlessly—perhaps too much so. Dashing recklessly into a practice melee one day, Keene was thrown, and lay motionless on the ground. Men rushed from the sidelines; doctors were summoned; Keene was revived with whisky, and it was found that the often-damaged collarbone had sustained another break. While he lay incapacitated, the committee did the only thing they could do: they asked Whitney & Co. to come back. Foxhall Keene expressed formal gratification when the Big Four, steadied by the pressure of match play, beat back the challenge and kept the cup; but he knew in his heart that as far as international polo was concerned, he had lost a chance which would never come again.

That was not the only misfortune to overtake Keene in this year which brought the really good days to their close. There was, for instance, a person with a wine bill, whose claim got into the papers. The bill allegedly was incurred abroad and came to the hands of the American collector on a speculative or contingency basis. A week after this publicity Keene had trouble in front of the Astor Hotel with a traffic policeman who objected to the outdated license plates on his automobile. When the officer asked for his name, Keene refused to give it. While a crowd of Broadway loafers chanted " Foxhall Keene! Foxhall Keene!" he accompanied the policeman to the night court. The magistrate listened with sympathy to the policeman's story of how he had been "abused and threatened" and reprimanded the prisoner as a man of high standing who was considerably out of line. Dismissed, Keene merely shrugged his shoulders and sauntered from the room.

Five weeks later, word came from Colorado that Foxhall Keene had been hurt, but was able to remount and continue play, after a spill in a polo game against an outfit called the Denver Prairie Dogs. After that he was not publicly heard from until the following year, when another crisis rose in the world of international polo as the British defeated an American side in two games. Keene ran into Damon Runyon, star reporter of the Hearst newspapers, and made bitter criticism of the American team, which Runyon played up in the New York American. Soon the other papers were full of it, announcing that "wherever sporting men gathered," Keene's acidulous remarks came up for review. "The contest has become not an international affair," he had groused to Runyon, "but is run and regulated by a little clique of men who now have about enough rope on their necks to hang themselves." He said the Americans were in poor physical condition, "mere shells of men," excepting Devereux Milburn, "a marvelous player who has pulled them through innumerable times." After a few days Keene decided he had gone too far and had Runyon and other newspapermen publish a handsome retraction of what he called his "ill-timed and undeserved" remarks.

Perhaps some of this bitter jealousy was blown away shortly afterward when Keene turned out for the Maryland Hunt Cup. Here there were no cliques or committees, only those tremendous fences, at which there was no use looking, "for you would only scare yourself to death." Keene was riding Toreador, who was a good game chaser, but had a terrible time breathing. Thinking about this after the race, Keene consulted the veterinarians. Could not this animal who fenced so beautifully have his wind improved by installing a tube in his throat? This was done, and when Keene next rode Toreador, in the Rockaway Cup, the horse breathed perfectly through a tube in his neck, responding to the call in the stretch to sweep through the leaders and come home in front. Foxhall Keene's name was already on the Rockaway Cup—he had won it for the first time 25 years before.

Through the years that followed, the seemingly indestructible Foxhall Keene continued to turn his attention to hunting and polo, now on Long Island, now in Leicestershire, now in Maryland, now in California. In 1915, by his own account, Keene was still "in top shape for polo," but two years later, at 47, he announced that he was retiring from the game. The newspaper experts agreed that he had been "one of the most remarkable sportsmen who ever bestrode a horse in competition," and that at the top of his form no one could outplay him. Their articles had somewhat the tone of obituaries, which is perhaps unavoidable when a star leaves an active sport because of age. A similar note was sounded when Keene made his last visit to the Quorn Hunt which he had ridden for so long and so well. Algy Burnaby was a joint master, and he rose before a gathering of Meltonians to say, "Mr. Keene has been away from here for 10 years. I want you to know that no man ever went better over Leicestershire than he did."

Off the sporting stage, Keene pursued his own ideal of poised conduct with all his resources and, thanks to an inheritance from his mother, these were still considerable. But ceaseless luxury-class travel, with the renting of country houses when not on the move and magnificently catered parties for 500 guests, was an enormously costly manner of life; and Keene's admiration for ladies of the musical stage also came high. So it was not surprising that evidence appeared from time to time that all was not well with him financially: tradesmen would bring their bills to court and this would be reported in the newspapers. One of the more interesting, if less vital, of these claims was that of a garage man, who said he had not received payment for the care of Mr. Keene's Rolls-Royce, even though his services had included keeping the tonneau stocked with distilled drinking water.

By 1928 Keene had come to the conclusion that there was nothing for it but to give up the sport he loved most of all, and so he let it be known that he would ride to hounds no more. This termination of his great career over the fences was given sad finality when he put his famous mare Kitten up for sale. Kitten was the daughter of Tracery out of Puss in Boots, she the daughter of Peter Pan and Star Cat. They were all gone now—Peter Pan, Celt, Colin, Court Dress and Novelty, along with Commando, Wild Mint (named by Major Daingerfield), Restigouche, Helmet and Maskette. Gone too was the top horse in the first of all Keene entries on that day so long ago at Jerome Park. His name was Spendthrift.

Seven years later, an old man with no place to go, Foxhall Keene arrived at the 340-acre estate of his sister, the widowed Mrs. Edward I. Frost, near the village of Ayer's Cliff in the Canadian countryside 10 miles north of the Vermont frontier. Walking stiffly, as though on battered legs, he handed the estate manager, who came to meet him, a single suitcase. Keene was installed in the main house but was soon moved to a bare, small cottage on the property. In his few remaining years he became a familiar and yet legendary sight to its inhabitants. They would often see him strolling in the bypaths, limping, immaculately dressed, a lonely figure cutting at the milkweed with his cane. When indoors, he passed his time looking at the photographs illustrating various periods of his life, which were the only decorations of his cottage. Few of the villagers ever got to know him, yet Foxhall Keene found one friend in these last days. It happened that Mrs. Frost spent the winters in Charleston, S.C. and during these months arranged for Keene to live in lodgings in the village, at the home of Mrs. Willie Hurd, and he often talked to her at length about old times. Most of all Keene loved to recall in detail the finest day's sport in his life, a run on the best of his hunters, Becky Sharpe, who was Virginia-bred.

"It was in early spring," he remembered. "I'd gone down to Rugby for the polo, and then got word that hounds would be out for one last day at Melton. So I went back for it, don't you know? They found almost at once, and the fox didn't seek cover but trusted to his strength and endurance. Away he went for an hour, straight as an arrow and, upon my word, going 25 miles. Then, nine miles from home, he turned upwind and, I swear, increased his speed. Becky Sharpe took every fence first that day.... There were just a few of us left at the finish, and our horses were staggering.... I tell you, that was a day...."

At the last Keene grew infirm very rapidly. His sister provided a maid who acted as nurse, and this attendant was the only person present when he died, an old and tired man who had lived much too long, on September 25, 1941. In his biography, published after he retired to Canada, Foxhall Keene had said that even though his strength and skill were gone, together with the fortune which had supported his royal manner of living, he would not change a moment of "a life of pure delight." All he wanted as an epitaph was the testimonial, "He was a good man over Leicestershire."