Helen Fielding enters with a letter in her hand.

HELEN FIELDING: I have lots of mail today. Most of it is fan mail, but some of it is hate mail. Let me see about this one. Oh my goodness, it's from Jane Austen! "Dear Helen Fielding, your Bridget Jones books are most humorous. What delightful additions you have made to the literary world with your various contributions. However, I am bound by my publisher to notify you that Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, directly plagiarizes Persuasion!" What?! "I am now going to have to sue you for 3 million dollars. Instead of buying my classic book, people are purchasing your rip-off. I am so sorry to have to do this, but I can't wait for the money to come in." Upon my word! I don't understand

Helen Fielding exits. Elizabeth and Anne enter.

ELIZABETH: Hello we are the Elliots. That is my sister Anne. She is not that attractive, is she? You know what? She was engaged to this guy eight years ago. His name was Captain Wentworth. But the match was disapproved of, because Wentworth was poor. Since then, papa has been having financial trouble and no one else has tried to win her hand, so it is just about final:

ANNE: That's not true!

ELIZABETH: Anne will be an old maid for the rest of her life. OLD MAID! OLD MAID! OLD MAID!

ANNE: Stop saying that. Charles Musgrove asked for my hand in marriage.

Anne pulls Elizabeth's hair. Elizabeth shrieks.

ELIZABETH: So anyway, Papa has to budget. It looks like we can live affordably in Bath, if you go to live with Mary at Uppercross!!

ANNE: Not Mary at Uppercross! She is my least favorite sister and her husband is Charles Musgrove, that man who proposed to me. It is hard to keep all these men in order. Captain Wentworth, Charles Musgrove... ah, well, here I am at Uppercross.

Mary runs around shrieking.

ANNE (cont.): What is that matter?

MARY: I am sick! I shall die! Please take care of me and my husband and kids!

Mary exits.

ANNE: If I had wanted to take care of your husband, I would have married him in the first place. (to audience) I have forgotten what a hypochondriac my sister is. Coming to live with her may not have been such a good idea after all. Things are still pretty awkward with Charles Musgrove and me, him being married to my sister and all. I just hope I don't see him around.

Benwick enters.

BENWICK: Dearest Anne!!

Anne is extremely annoyed of being within ten feet of Benwick.

ANNE: Uh, Benwick, hello. You're Charles' friend, right?

BENWICK: Oh yes. And you're Mary's sister! Any kin of the Musgroves is just like kin to me! Maybe we can set things straight and become kin by law! Ha, ha! How good that would be.

ANNE: (annoyed) I am not sure.

BENWICK: So how are you, lovely angel?

ANNE: Simply enjoying the ocean-side and being out of my sister Mary's company. I look forward to meeting you again. But for now we must part.

BENWICK: Must we part so hastily?

Louisa enters.

LOUISA: Hullo!

BENWICK: Who is that?

ANNE: That is Louisa. She is my sister's husband's sister.

BENWICK: Oh, that is your sister-in-law?

ANNE: Yes, she is the only company who would follow me here. I was so desperate for any social interaction that I let her come.

LOUISA: Look at me! I'm going to jump!


Louisa steps onto a stool or chair. She screams and falls down on the stage.

ANNE: I have always thought her to be very rambunctious, as well as a show-off.

LOUISA: Help me! Don't just stand there talking. I'm hurt over here!

ANNE: Benwick, will you stay with Louisa, while I fetch some help?

BENWICK: Surely! I would do anything to help you, my dearest darling Anne.

Anne exits.

LOUISA: So I'm a duty? You don't find me attractive? You're flirting with Anne, but can't you see she doesn't want you?

BENWICK: I am hurt! Are you sure she doesn't want me?

LOUISA: Oh, no way! Hell would sooner freeze over.

BENWICK: You can't be serious!

LOUISA: Oh yes... OW!! Hasn't Anne gotten the doctor by now? I think I broke my leg and arm and my back feels sore, lying down on the ground like this.

BENWICK: Louisa!


BENWICK: Oh Louisa, I think I love you.

LOUISA: Over the last few minutes, I couldn't help but notice how remarkably handsome you were.

BENWICK: I hope you will forgive me for admiring Anne all this time. It is so fortunate that we were left alone together. I have discovered that I am truly in love with you.

LOUISA: Oh, the pain has ceased and the feeling of ecstasy has replaced it.

BENWICK: Let us marry!

LOUISA: I agree. I would love to be your wife.

BENWICK: Anne is taking way too long. I shall carry you off to the nearest wedding chapel and we'll go to a doctor after that.

LOUISA: Sounds like a plan! What's your name again?

BENWICK: Benwick.

Benwick carries Louisa and they both exit. Anne enters.

ANNE: Okay... Benwick and Louisa are married? At least he won't hit on me anymore. That goofball! He just wasn't my type: shoddy, insensible, plump. I want a man more like... CAPTAIN WENTWORTH! Why did I ever let him go? Wealth is nothing. Love is everything. I found a man I LOVED and didn't commit myself to him. How foolish, how unforgivable, how...

Captain Wentworth and Mary enter. Anne keeps distance from Captain Wentworth and Mary.

ANNE: Oh it is him! He is as handsome as ever! How sexy!

Mary hears Anne, but Captain Wentworth does not.

MARY: Anne! Jane Austen would have never said sexy.

ANNE: I know, but I've forgotten how incredibly sexy he is! Oh my gosh. I said it again. Please excuse me.

MARY: Excused.

Mary returns to Captain Wentworth's side.

ANNE: I can't believe Wentworth who once promised to prove his love so true is so indifferent to me now. Look at him standing there, trying to ignore me! I guess a man sooner forgets falling in love than a woman does!

WENTWORTH (approaching Anne): "I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you... You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you... For you alone I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? Too good, too excellent creature! Do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in [me]."

ANNE: Ohh, what a beautiful soliloquy Wentworth!

WENTWORTH: Thank you. It took me four hours to write and memorize it.

ANNE: So you still care for me?

WENTWORTH: You still care for ME?

ANNE: Oh darling, yes!

WENTWORTH: I still care for you. Every moment we have been parted has been pure anguish.

ANNE: I know, you just told me in your soliloquy.

WENTWORTH: So let's get married!

ANNE: And enjoy the rest of our lives together!

WENTWORTH: "Who can be in doubt of what followed?"

ANNE: Captain Wentworth and I married and lived happily ever after!

WENTWORTH: And so did Louisa and Benwick!

ANNE: But not Helen Fielding!

Anne and Wentworth exit. Helen Fielding enters with a letter.

HELEN FIELDING: So Jane Austen says, "I will sue you because your book follows so closely to mine. My publisher is currently trying to determine whether or not your first Bridget Jones book infringes Pride and Prejudice's copyright. You may hear from me in the near future. But for now, look at the following overbearing similarities between The Edge of Reason and Persuasion.

"Bridget had a miscommunication with Mark, therefore causing a prolonged separation. Anne broke up with Wentworth, causing them to be separated for eight years.
"Bridget went to Thailand, and Anne went to her sister's house.
"Rebecca fell off the dock, and Louisa fell off the cliff at the seaside.
"Both the characters of Rebecca and Louisa fell in love with a man named Benwick after their unfortunate accident."

Well yes, I was trying to draw parallels true. But I am ruined if Jane Austen wins this lawsuit! I am ruined! Please forgive me Jane! Oh dear, and I was planning to base my next Bridget Jones sequel on Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. Bridget was going to move to Camden Town and become a Goth chick. I shall write to Jane this time and ask her permission to write my next novel. She has to let me continue my Bridget Jones series or I am ruined! Ruined!

Helen Fielding exits.