Richard Caswell is the proprietor of Lavender House, an establishment that caters to men who favor sexual attention from other men. He otherwise deals in secrets, craving knowledge about anyone and anything.
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Caswell is a man who likes gossip. He makes it his business to know anything of interest about everyone that comes to Lavender House. And that knowledge is something he is willing to share, for the right price.
Caswell's features are ragged and wasted with age; Grey compares him to an Egyptian mummy. He has bony brown wrists with hands like bundles of dry sticks and his clothes hang upon him due to his shrunken scarecrow-like form. His eyes are small, black, and clever though perpetually bloodshot from smoke and late hours, with deep violet bags under them. 
- Richard means "brave power", derived from the Germanic elements ric "power, rule" and hard "brave, hardy".
- Caswell is a habitational name from places in Dorset, Northamptonshire, and Somerset named Caswell, from Old English cærse "(water)cress" + well(a) "spring", "stream".