Near the beginning of Stave 2 of A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Past draws aside Scrooge's bed curtains:
The curtains of his bed were drawn aside, I tell you, by a hand. Not the curtains at his feet, nor the curtains at his back, but those to which his face was addressed. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside; and Scrooge, starting up into a half-recumbent attitude, found himself face to face with the unearthly visitor who drew them: as close to it as I am now to you, and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow.
What exactly is the narrator implying when they say that Scrooge is "as close to it as I am now to you, and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow."? The in-scene meaning is obvious — the spirit is really close to Scrooge. But there's an out-of-scene implication about the narrator's proximity to the reader that's both odd and confusing.
Are we supposed to take this as meaning the narrator is supposedly physically sitting with the reader and telling them the tale? Is there some spookier implication? Is it metaphorical? I'm also not quite sure what "standing in the spirit" is supposed to mean.