Steny Hoyer was back at his old job yesterday morning.

The outgoing state senator and senate president, the prince of Prince George's County Democratic politics, arrived at the county courthouse shortly after 8:30 a.m. as a simple private attorney.

just one week after Hoyer's confident hopes of becoming lieutenant governor of Maryland were swept away by Harry Hughes upset victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Hoyer found himself plea-bargaining for a 27- year-old Landover man charged with writing two bad checks.

"I wasn't really expecting this," said Hoyer as he stood in line with a half dozen other attorneys waiting to meet with the District Court's state's attorney. "But I practiced law for a long time, and I expect I'll practice it for a long time to come."

Despite the relative insignificance of his case - dozens of bad-check cases are tried in the county's district court attention as he worked his way down the crowded, smoky basement corridor to the courthouse lockup, where his client was being held.

Old friends clapped him on the back and wished him well, took him aside for quiet words, or wrung their hands for him in sympathy . "Steny, Steny, dear, how are you feeling ," asked one woman, an old courthouse regular. "Well," said Hoyer, slowly. "I could be better."

Although still apparently downeast over the stunning primary victory of Harry Hughes and his lieutenant governor runningmate, Prince George's County Councilman San Bogley, Hoyer still only 39, was cheerful about the future.

"There are some things I want to do right now." he said. "I'd to get my law practice back into shape and work on some political options."

"I'm too young to retire from - Hoyer hesitated - public service. I've got a lot of support in the county still. I just have to look around and consider my options."

Then Hoyer went off the huddle briefly with Judge Graydon S. McKee. Shortly thereafter, McKee granted Hoyer a four - day continuance on his case. At 11.30 a.m.,he sauntered out of the District court, his work done.