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When Alyosha enters his father's home, his father and brother Ivan are finishing dinner and the servants attend them in the dining room.
Here we're given a little background on Smerdyakov, Stinking Lizaveta's son.
A quiet, sullen child, Smerdyakov was discovered to have the "falling sickness" (epilepsy); he would fall into fits every month or so. For some reason Fyodor grew quite fond of the boy after his illness was discovered.
One day, Smerdyakov was found picking through his soup, and Fyodor decided that Smerdyakov should be trained as a chef. After training in Moscow, Smerdyakov came back to be Fyodor's cook. Now 24, he is just as sullen and silent as ever.