The portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Glegg in Chapter XII further fills out the extensive description of the Dodson women through Book First—as a unified front, but also as distinguished by quirky, detailed differences. One of the themes that unifies the Dodson women, is their respect for, and attention to, the state of death. We have already seen Mrs. Pullet's deep interest in terminal maladies and funerals. This interest is shared by Mrs. Tulliver, if in a more off-hand way, such as her comment to Mr. Tulliver about the family bedsheets back in Chapter II, "An' if you was to die tomorrow, Mr. Tulliver, they're mangled beautiful, an' all ready, an' smell o' lavender as it 'ud be a pleasure to lay 'em out." In Chapters XII and XIII, Mrs. Glegg is described partially in terms of her frequent hypothetical considerations of the state of things after her own (or Mr. Glegg's) death. Death stands as an ideal state for Mrs. Glegg—a time during which true affection can be felt for her husband and when her standing as a respectable member of the community will be vindicated through the generous terms of her will. This reverential desire for the state of death dictates Mrs. Glegg's particular morality, a sense of duty in relation to legacy, instead of living relations. Thus she will not cut Tom and Maggie out of her will in Chapter XIII despite their father's poor behavior.

The discussion between Mrs. Glegg and Mrs. Pullet in Chapter XIII about Maggie's vices serves to emphasize, at the end of Book First, the overwhelming negative pressure that Maggie has faced throughout the first book. Maggie's spontaneous, non-conforming, and imaginative sense of self must continuously run against outside censure of her appearance, behavior, and talents. Only Maggie's father is depicted as loving her unconditionally, but even his love excuses her personality, rather than supporting it.