In Chapter 2 of I Am a Cat (full text of this and preceding chapters available here), the cat makes reference to a particular "western novel" in order to draw an analogy with his master:

“Ah, and who were the women?” enviously my master asks. At first glance my master usually looks cold and hard; but, to tell the truth, he is by no means indifferent to women. He once read in a Western novel of a man who invariably fell partially in love with practically every woman that he met. Another character in the book somewhat sarcastically observed that, as a rough calculation, that fellow fell in love with just under seven-tenths of the women he passed in the street. On reading this, my master was struck by its essential truth and remained deeply impressed. Why should a man so impressionable lead such an oysterish existence? A mere cat such as I cannot possibly understand it. Some say it is the result of a love affair that went wrong; some say it is due to his weak stomach; while others simply state that it’s because he lacks both money and audacity. Whatever the truth, it doesn’t much matter since he’s a person of insufficient importance to affect the history of his period. What is certain is that he did enquire enviously about Coldmoon’s female fiddlers.

(emphasis mine)

Is there a real "Western novel" being referred to here, and if so, what is it? I'm always curious about little intertextual references like this, and it'd be a shame if it turned out to be an idea the author had made up out of whole cloth.


The novel may be "The Inimitable Jeeves" by P.G. Wodehouse. It concerns mainly the events associated with a secondary character, Bingo Little, who falls in love with almost all the women he meets. He is the target of scorn from the principle character, Bertie. From memory, I believe he makes the reference regarding seven-tenths of women.

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  • Nice catch! I checked through the text of the book and didn't find any references to seven-tenths specifically, but there are a lot of jibes from Bertie about Bingo's lovaholic nature, including: "I’m bound to say that there are things about him that could be improved. His habit of railing in love with every second girl he sees is one of them; and another is his way of letting the world in on the secrets of his heart." (emphasis mine) – Rand al'Thor Aug 10 '18 at 19:59

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