I will have to look for a copy of Chto neponyatno u klassikov, ili Entsiklopediya russkogo byta XIX veka [What you don’t understand in the classics, or Encyclopedia of daily life in the 19th century] (Moscow, 1998), a few excerpts of which are online here, dealing with the ways people addressed one another. As anyone at all familiar with prerevolutionary Russian society knows, inferiors called superiors by resounding titles while superiors used the equivalent of “my good man,” or simply a name, to them. The most interesting of the excerpts concerns the suffix -s, a contracted form of sudar’ ‘sir,’ omnipresent in prerevolutionary literature as an indication of politeness or servility, depending on the situation. It was known as слово-ер-с [slovo-er-s], from the old name of the letter s (slovo, literally ‘word’) and er (pronounced “yer”), the name of the hard sign formerly used after all words ending in a consonant. In The Brothers Karamazov the disgraced Staff Captain Snegirev says to call him Captain Slovoyersov, since in the second half of his life he has had to begin humbly using the -s ending. And there’s a wonderful quote from Pushkin’s Pikovaya dama [Queen of spades] (the beginning of Chapter 6):
—Kak vy smeli mne skazat’ atande?
—Vashe prevoskhoditel’stvo, ya skazal atande-s!
“How dare you say ‘Wait’ to me?”
“Your Excellency, i said ‘Wait, sir’!”]
Addendum. I finally found slovo-erik in Dahl, hiding two-thirds of the way down column 256 of Volume 4 (of the third edition, 1903-1909, edited and corrected by Jan Baudouin de Courtenay, the only one worth getting from a linguistic point of view); the definition reads: “-s, added to words v znak osoboi vezhlivosti prezhnikh vremen [‘as a mark of special politeness of former times,’ an odd phrasing that leaves it unclear whether it is the politeness or the suffix that is obsolete].” This implies that even before the revolution the slovo-er-s or slovo-erik was considered a relic.
Update. When I wrote this entry, I had no idea why the final -s of slovo-er-s was there, but I suppose I figured it was too picky a detail to get into. Now, thanks to a commenter on this post, I know: in the old system of reading Russian by syllables, using the old names of the Cyrillic letters, a final hard sign was read with the preceding consonant following it, so that, e.g., великъ [velikъ] would be read “веди езь, ве; люди иже, ли, вели; како еркъ, великъ” [vedi + ez’ = ve; lyudi + izhe = li > veli; kako + yerkъ > velikъ], where yerkъ is yer (hard sign) plus the preceding k (called kako). In exactly the same way, the suffix -съ (in the old spelling) was read “слово-ер-съ.” Mystery solved!