Alyosha decides to take a shortcut over to Katerina Ivanovna's even though she intimidates him. To get to Katerina's, he has to cut through his father's neighbors' garden. These neighbors are an old woman and her daughter, a former chambermaid used to working in grand homes.
As Alyosha gets to the garden, he's astonished to see his brother Dmitri inside. Dmitri waves him over. Alyosha asks him why he's whispering, and Dmitri shouts out that he's got a secret. But Dmitri's voice quickly goes down to a whisper again as he asks Alyosha to follow him to a gazebo in the center of the garden.
In the gazebo, Alyosha notices that Dmitri has been hitting the cognac pretty hard. Dmitri starts to ramble, spouting off a mixture of German and Russian poetry and proclaiming himself to be the lowest, basest sensualist – as only a Karamazov could be.