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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.

4

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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