Emma’s high opinion of Frank is shaken when she learns that he has dashed off to London just for a haircut, which she feels is rather vain and extravagant. However, she decides that he fits the honor she has imagined for him of being a suitable match for herself—though she still resolves to never marry. Mr. Knightley is the only person among their acquaintances who finds Frank trifling and silly.
Emma’s good sense regarding the extravagance of a day trip to London for a haircut is compromised by her vanity, as she continues to hold a high regard for Frank as the superior man she and others have paired with her in their minds. Knightley, however, only sees Frank to be the silly man he expected all along.
Emma has resolved to decline any invitation from the Coles, a nouveau-riche family, in order to teach them their place. However, she feels mortified and unhappy when all of her friends are invited to a party and no invitation comes to Hartfield. When an invitation finally arrives, Emma is tempted by the prospect that all of her friends—Mr. Knightley, the Westons, and Harriet—are attending. She asks the Westons for their advice and decides to accept the invitation.
Emma’s feelings regarding the affair with the Coles are rather comical, revealing both her snobbery and vanity. Though she believes the Coles below her and wants to teach them not to presume on “superior families,” she feels left out when no invitation comes—she wants the power to reject them—and ultimately decides to attend when everyone else is.
Mr. Woodhouse frets over the prospect of leaving his house for a dinner party. Emma insists that he had better stay home while she visits the Coles, and he reluctantly agrees on the condition that she will take all precautions for her health on the perilous visit out.
Mr. Woodhouse is irrationally concerned about the discomforts of a dinner out, as everyone around him solicitously ensures the sheltered old man is made comfortable—as usual.