I believe the future is more grim than Wells might have imagined in his wildest dreams (and his dreams were awfully wild.) Therefore, I think the sentence would read, "In about two hundred years, we may expect even small hopes to be extinguished like a sputtering flame."
I say this because, for me, the destruction the unnamed narrator describes echo too resonately the horrors of 9/11. Like the Martian attacks, our surprise came from by entities that were studying our every move without our knowledge.
Here is a line from the opening chapter:
"...as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water."
And here are lines from the conclusion:
I go to London and see the busy multitudes in Fleet Street and the Strand, and it comes across my mind that they are but the ghosts of the past, haunting the streets that I have seen silent and wretched, going to and fro, phantasms in a dead city, the mockery of life in a galvanised body.
Change "London" to "New York" and "Fleet Street" to "West Broadway" and "the Strand" to the "Brooklyn Bridge" and I think you'll see what I mean...