This flood of tears left Mr. Sowerberry no alternative. If he had hesitated for one instant to punish Oliver most severely, it must be quite clear to every experienced reader that he would have been, according to all precedents in disputes of matrimony established, a brute, an unnatural husband, an insulting creature, a base imitation of a man, and...
So, they established the rule, that all poor people should have the alternative (for they would compel nobody, not they), of being starved by a gradual process in the house, or by a quick one out of it.
’He knows the alternative,’ said Mr. Browlow.
’A word from me, and the alternative has gone for ever.’
There are no more uses of "alternative" identified with this meaning in the book.
Show samples from other sources
Let’s think of at least three alternatives before we decide what to do.