Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child
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MARGUERITE LEBOEUF, fifteen years of age, from the parish of St. Jean Deschaillons ,--------------

the eleventh------------ March,----------------


The [accused], Marie-Anne Houde, wife of Télesphore Gagnon:-

Examined by Maître Arthur Fitzpatrick, Deputy Crown Prosecutor:-

Q. Do you know the accused, Madame Gagnon, present here today?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Have you ever been to her home?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. When?

A. In the last week of August.

Q. Did you know little Aurore Gagnon, who died?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Now, how did the accused treat little Aurore, when you were at the house?

A. She beat her while I was there.

Q. What did she beat her with?

Objection to this testimony.

Testimony allowed.

A. The first time, she beat her with a piece of wood.

Q. How big was this piece of wood?

A. About a foot long and three quarters of an inch thick.

Q. Where was she beating her like this?

A. On her bottom. Everywhere.

Q. Was she beating her hard?

A. Yes, Monsieur. Hard.

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Q. Now, in what position was the child, when she was beating her like this?

A. She was standing.

Q. Now, did you see her beat her at any other time?

A. Yes, Monsieur. Three times, besides that one.

Q. The other times, what did she use to beat her?

A. Once with a switch, and then with cedar stick, about 14 inches long.

Q. Did she beat her hard?

A. Yes, Monsieur. She beat her on the knees: she hit her twice, and I left then, because I was afraid of her.

Q. Was there anything on the tip of this stick?

A. Yes, Monsieur. She would take shavings from the stick to light the stove, and there was a knot in the wood, and she would always stop at the knot, and it formed a knob, and she would hit her knees with this; she hit her twice and after that, I left.

Q. Was the little girl screaming?

A. Yes, Monsieur. She was bawling.

Q. Did she stop when the little girl screamed?

A. No. She would say: "The more you bawl, the more I'll give you."

Q. Now, do you know where this little girl slept?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Where did she sleep?

A. Upstairs.

Q. Did she have a proper place to sleep? Did she have a proper bed?

A. She slept on a small bed, it must have been as long as her: it had no straw mattress, nothing. There was a pillow, and no blankets.

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Q. Now, did you see her beat her, besides that time?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. When?

A. While washing her dishes.

Q. Why was she beating her?

A. She said: "Look, Marguerite, she washes the dishes well, when I beat her"; she said: "I tell you, I'll get her to wash the dishes."


Cross-examined by Maître Louis Larue, for the defence: -

Q. Did you know little Aurore?

A. I had never seen her before that time.

Q. You had never seen her before?

A. I'd seen her once. She was staying with my Uncle Octave Lord.

Q. Was she difficult?

A. No, Monsieur. Quiet.

Q. You'd seen her just once, yourself?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. What were you doing at Monsieur Gagnon's?

A. I had gone there to get out for a bit, and then to see what was going on.

Q. You had gone to see what was going on there?

A. Not only for that, but also to get out for a bit.

Q. Especially to see what was going on?

A. No, to get out for a bit.

Q. Who had sent you to see what was going on?

A. Maman and Papa told me: "You go there, and you see if that's the case or if that isn't." We were hearing people talk about that.

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Q. And this is why you went there?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. So that if there was something going on, you could testify against Madame Gagnon?

A. Oh no, I didn't expect that.

Q. How many times, in all, did you go to Monsieur Gagnon's?

A. I went only that one time.

Q. So, you went to Madame Gagnon's only once?

A. When they were married the second time, I went only once, to my uncle's.

By the Judge:-

Q. The father is your uncle?

A. Yes, Monsieur.


By Maître Louis Larue, for the defence: -

Q. You went there in all only once?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. How is it that, earlier, you swore that, to your knowledge, Madame Gagnon had beaten her once with a switch and then three times more with a cedar stick, on the knees, and then still another time while she was washing the dishes, if you had been there only once?

A. She beat her four times.


By the Judge:-

Q. Was this all in the same day?

A. No, Monsieur. It was during the week that I was there.

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By Maître Louis Larue:-

Q. Did you stay there for a week?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. While you were there, did little Aurore run away often? Did she often sleep elsewhere?

A. No, Monsieur. She didn't run away.

Q. She was disobedient?

A. No, Monsieur.

Q. Why did she beat her with a piece of wood?

A. I can't remember why.

Q. You don't know if it was because she had run away or had disobeyed?

A. It was not because she had run away; it was because she had disobeyed.

Q. Did she go outside with the little boys, this little girl?

A. I don't know.

Q. Did you have any knowledge of that while you were there?

A. No, Monsieur.

Q. She didn't go outside with the little boys?

A. No, Monsieur.


Source: ANQ, TP9, S1, SS1, SSS999, 1960-01-35769, 3B 023 03-05-002A-01, Cour du banc du roi, assises criminelles, district de Québec, Déposition de Marguerite Leboeuf, enquête préliminaire de Marie-Anne Houde, March 11, 1920, 5.

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