But I glanced at Bill, and hesitated. He had the most appealing look in his eyes I ever saw on the face of a dumb or a talking brute.
The word “brute” has several meanings:
1 A savagely violent person or animal.
1.1 informal A cruel or insensitive person.
1.2 Something awkward, difficult, or unpleasant.
2 An animal as opposed to a human being.
The second definition is not likely applicable because Bill is not an animal.
So it is perhaps used in the first definition.
May dumb (unable to speak) be the metaphor of animal, and talking (able to speak) be the metaphor of human?
- a dumb brute — savagely violent animal
- a talking brute — savagely violent person