When Ray Ingle asks his Uncle Thad if he can go to sea with him, he knows his parents won't like it. But they're not around, and anything is better than staying with mean old Uncle Slye! To Ray's great surprise, Uncle Thad agrees to take him on, and soon Ray and his pet capuchin monkey Allie are helping out in the galley of "The Newburyport Beauty." Ray knows Cook used to be a slave, though now he's free. But when Ray discovers what Cook is hiding in the kitchen pantry, he gets more involved with the question of slavery than he ever could have imagined!