Del. Donald B. Robertson (D-Montgomery), the majority leader of the House of Delegates and one of a gaggle of legislators who aspire to succeed Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Baltimore) as speaker in 1987, is being a little more bashful than some of his competitors who have been actively campaigning for the post for months.

In a letter written this week to some of his colleagues, Robertson -- known in the House as a stickler for procedure -- announced his desire to become speaker, but he said he did not think it appropriate to campaign during a legislative session.

"We are in the midst of a very difficult session -- a session with many complex issues and conflicting currents and one in which it is even more important than usual that we maintain a sense of balance," wrote Robertson. "Under those circumstances, in my opinion, I would not serve the House and its members properly . . . if I were to divert any portion of my attention or energy to seeking support for another office."

However, Robertson closed with a promise to "talk with you about this important question at an appropriate time."

Judging by the way his opponents are campaigning already, by the time Robertson gets up the nerve to ask his colleagues for a date, their dance cards may all be full.