Tuxtla Gutierrez is a capital city. It is also a busy commercial centre. Of course, the population is for the most part mestizo, and not indian. We had been surprised at finding so many indians in the city as there were. We were yet more surprised to find to what extent the houses of the city, though admirably built, were truly indian in style, presenting many points of interest. The walls of the “god-house” were heavy and substantial, smoothly daubed with mud, neatly plastered and often adorned with colored decorations. The “cook-house,” slighter and less well-built, was made of poles daubed with mud, and rough with heavy thatching. The granary was elevated above the ground, and sheltered with its own neat thatching.
In the afternoon, at four o’clock, we betook ourselves to the jefe’s house to see the dance. At Tuxtla, there are two town governments, that of the mestizos and that of the indians. The indian officials—“alcaldes indios”—are recognizable by their dress, which is a survival of the ancient indian dress of the district. Their camisa, broad hat, and leather breeches, are characteristic. Around the head, under the hat, they wear a red cloth, and those who have served as indian alcaldes continue to wear this head-cloth after their official service ends. These indian officials had been commissioned to bring together the dancers, and make all necessary arrangements. The colonel, the prisoners of state, and one or two other guests were present. The leader of the dance was gaily dressed, in a pair of wide drawers with lace about the legs below the knee, a pair of overdrawers made of bright-colored handkerchiefs, and a helmet or cap of bright-red stuff from which rose a crest of macaw feathers, tipped with tufts of