I think you've spelled it out pretty well
Written by Barb JA
(9/21/2010 10:23 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Sporting with the Miss Bertrams, penned by Robbin
As you say, he tries to smooth things over so he can continue the game.
His game is up with Julia in Ch. 14 when he chooses his Agatha
Julia wavered; but was he only trying to soothe and pacify her, and make her overlook the previous affront? She distrusted him. The slight had been most determined. He was, perhaps, but at treacherous play with her....
“You do not seem afraid of not keeping your countenance when I come in with a basket of provisions—though one might have supposed—but it is only as Agatha that I was to be so overpowering!” She stopped—Henry Crawford looked rather foolish, and as if he did not know what to say
Julia only became protected by his pushing the game too far with her. Now he will just continue the game with Maria. If Julia had been chosen as Agatha, would Maria have wised up?