Emma deems her delightful evening at the Coles worth the loss in “dignified seclusion,” though she feels some guilt about sharing her unfavorable suspicions towards Jane with Frank. Reflecting on Jane’s superior musical performance, Emma practices piano. As she is playing Harriet arrives and applauds her performance.
Emma’s discomfort regarding Jane stems from a combination of jealousy and self-awareness; Jane holds up an unsettling alternative vision of accomplishment that push Emma to improve her piano playing.
Harriet, with some distress, shares a report she has heard that the Cox daughters are interested in marrying Mr. Martin. Emma rather coldly declares the Cox family to be very vulgar.
Emma continues to disregard all signs of Mr. Martin’s worthiness, including the good opinion of others regarding Mr. Martin.
Emma and Harriet then go to visit the Bateses, and run into Mrs. Weston and Frank in town on the way. Frank had reminded Mrs. Weston of a promise she supposedly made to hear the new piano, though Frank now offers to stay with Emma while Mrs. Weston goes on. However, Miss Bates soon enters the store herself and persuades Emma and Harriet to drop by as well. After much chattering about all manner of things including Mr. Knightley’s gift of Jane’s favorite apples, Miss Bates leads them back to her humble abode.
Frank’s behavior reveals certain inconsistencies regarding the Bateses. Although he professes to find visits with them tiresome, he insists that his stepmother and he visit them. Yet, even after this suggestion, Frank appears willing to abandon the visit when encountering Emma and Harriet in town. Meanwhile, Mr. Knightley continues to reveal a genuine kindness and charity towards the Bateses.