This essay addresses the topic of “Short James” through the memorable Dickensian tag-line “in short.” A character often alluded to by James, Mr. Micawber offers a warning against two extremes: prolixity and brevity, or saying too much and saying too little. It is within this framework that the following discussion examines James’s conflicted attitude toward short fiction in a range of writings before concluding with “The Abasement of the Northmores,” which, in this essay’s reading, enacts a debate over the kinds of superfluous speech found in literature and journalism.