Chapter 25: The next day Emma wonders about her good opinion of Frank when she finds out that he will be spending the entire day in going to London to get his hair cut. Mr. Weston tries to laugh it off, but Mrs. Weston seems not to like it, evident in her trying to change the subject. This frivolous act is the only reason Emma has to question the good nature of Frank, though. Emma is sure that Frank is close to loving her, if he is not in love with her already, and she thinks that all of their acquaintances have them marked out for each other. Mr. Knightley however, is an exception. He does not share the good opinion of Frank Churchill that the rest of Highbury has, and thinks him a silly fellow.
The Coles of Highbury are of low origin, but have built their fortune so that they are second only to the Woodhouses now in Highbury. They have taken to having dinner-parties, and Emma had decided that if she were invited, she would not attend, to show them that she did not approve of them trying to arrange the terms on which the superior families would visit them. It turns out that everyone is invited to a party at the Coles except the Woodhouses, and Emma is hurt. The invitation does finally arrive though, and Emma decides to accept it after all.
Chapter 26: The day of the party arrives, and Emma thinks about how everyone will be seeing her and Frank together for the first time. Emma runs into Mr. Knightley arriving at the Cole's, so they walk in together. She is glad that he has come by his carriage, so that he looks like the gentleman he is. Emma notices that Frank seems happy to see her and is at her side much of the time. The conversation turns to a piano that Jane had received the day before. There was no knowing who it was from, and after some conjecture, they decided that it must be from Colonel Campbell. Emma thinks differently though. She looks at Frank Churchill to find him smiling, and when asked, he says that he is smiling because it was such a nice present. They start a conversation about the piano, and Emma tells him that she thinks that it was Mr. Dixon who sent it. She tells him that she believes that Mr. Dixon had fallen in love with Jane after he had married Miss Campbell. Emma talks about it enough that Frank is soon convinced as well that Mr. Dixon sent the piano.
After dinner Frank finds a place to sit by Emma, and when she sees him staring at Jane, he says that she has a strange hairdo that night and that he will go and ask her about it. Mrs. Weston takes the opportunity to talk to Emma, and tells her that she thinks that Mr. Knightley has been especially kind to Jane, and that she thinks a match will be made between the two of them. Emma is shocked and completely discounts the idea. She says that Mr. Knightley does not want to marry, that he does not care about Jane Fairfax, and that he must not marry so that Henry (Isabella and John Knightley's son) can remain heir to his property. She tells Mrs. Weston that she is not good at matchmaking. Mrs. Weston even thinks that perhaps the piano may have been from Mr. Knightley, but Emma says that he would never do such a thing, as he does not like surprises.
Mr. Cole asks Emma to play their piano, and when she does, Frank sings with her. Then it is Jane's turn to play and sing. Frank accompanies her as well, and Emma sees that Mr. Knightley is attentive. She asks him what he thinks of the present from the Campbell's, and he says that they would have been better to tell her, as surprises are foolish things. Emma does not think that he is in love with Jane. After the singing, dancing is proposed, and Frank dances with Emma. Emma watches Mr. Knightley to see if he will ask Jane to dance, but he is engaged elsewhere. It is growing late, so there are only two dances, but Frank tells Emma that he is glad about it, as if it went on he would have had to dance with Jane, and he is sure her dancing would not compare to Emma's.
Chapter 27: Emma does not regret that she went to the Coles, but she does wonder if she should not have been so open with Frank about her suspicions about Jane and Mr. Dixon. She is also sorry that Jane can play and sing better than her. Harriet comes over, and she and Emma go out walking and run into Mrs. Weston and Frank on their way to the Batses to see the new piano. They talk for a while, and then separate, but soon Mrs. Weston and Miss Bates come to ask them to hear the piano as well. Miss Bates goes on and on about many different subjects, and they finally all arrive back at the Bateses.