Alyosha decides he'll try to catch Dmitri at the gazebo by his father's house again, so he plants himself there in the hope that Dmitri will show up eventually.
He's surprised to hear the sound of guitar playing and a man's voice singing. A woman replies, and Alyosha realizes it's Smerdyakov playing the guitar to one of the neighbor girls, Maria Kondatrievna.
All of a sudden, Alyosha sneezes. He can't eavesdrop on the two any longer, so he goes up to them and inquires after Dmitri. Smerdyakov tells Alyosha that he isn't Dmitri's "keeper," that Dmitri is constantly threatening him. Maria adds that the other day she heard Dmitri telling Smerdyakov that he would grind his head in a mortar.
Smerdyakov tells Alyosha that Dmitri was invited to meet up with Ivan at a local tavern, so Alyosha takes leave of them and heads to the tavern.
When Alyosha arrives at the tavern, Ivan invites him up to his private room, where he's dining alone.